A Flowing Passion for Aerodynamics
Get to know Eleni, Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer at ALTEN in Gothenburg. Check out what gets her blood pumping, what the best parts of being a consultant are and what the main future challenges are working with aerodynamics.
First things first – what is CFD?
— CFD är en akronym för Computational Fluid Dynamics, beräkningsströmningsdynamik på svenska. Det är en metod som används tillsammans med mätningar och analytiska lösningar för att åtgärda problem med flödet av vätskor. Med CFD-simuleringar löser vi vätskeflödesfältet utan kostnad för tillverkning och testning av varje konstruktions iteration. Några typiska fall för CFD-modellering är fordons aerodynamik, vindteknik, HVAC-system, kylning och många fler.
Eleni holds a PhD in Aerodynamics in Turbomachinery. Physics in general holds a special place in her heart, with fluid motion and the complexity of the fluid phenomena being especially intriguing. Unsurprisingly, that’s what she finds most interesting within the field of engineering.
— It can be applied in so many different areas. For example, a simulation of the flow inside a fueled pump can be very similar to a simulation of a heart pump. It’s so fascinating!
“Togetherness and community is important. It’s about helping each other, about having a sense of teamwork.”
What are you working with today?
— I’m currently working with Thermal CFD Simulations for the development of Electrical Vehicles. I also work with the recruitment in the CFD area while and I have some admin responsibilities for the in-house CAE teams.
What attracted you to join ALTEN?
— The fact that ALTEN has a global presence. Having moved here from London, it’s important for me to be part of a company with international mindset. I spent almost 10 years in the UK and got the chance to collaborate with companies from the UK, US, Europe and Japan. Working in a multicultural environment has been a vital part of my development so far.
What is the most fun part of your job and why?
— Having joined ALTEN during the pandemic, I spent quite some time working from home and took me longer to meet my colleagues and socialize. Meeting my colleagues at the office, catching up about the weekly tasks or just having a relaxed coffee break in the afternoon are just some of the things that I’ve really missed.
Interaction, inspiration and motivation – important driving forces
Another side of her role that Eleni cherishes is the range it offers – the combination of applying different sets of skills in the everyday work. There’s the development of the technical skills in the tasks, working to solve hands-on, challenging tasks. But it’s also the soft skills required, delivering results to the customer and the interaction with her colleagues at different levels. It gives her role that extra flare.
— That’s why togetherness and community is important. It’s about helping each other, about having a sense of teamwork. It’s always important, but especially so in a team of people with different skillsets. It’s about transferring knowledge between each other and increasing productivity.
“Given the level of competition nowadays, it becomes very important to constantly reinvent yourself.“
What motivates you to stay committed and inspired in what you do?
— I’m motivated by personal interaction and teamwork. Learning new things through different assignments also gives me motivation, which is why I really cherish the diversity of the projects I’ve worked on. For me, that’s one of the perks of being a consultant.
Speaking of diversified projects – what do you think about the opportunities at ALTEN?
— Well, I’ve tried different things, been involved in different assignments and developed in new areas since I came to ALTEN. For example, I’ve been encouraged to try different areas of simulations – from 3D CFD to System Simulations. When I realized that System Simulations was not for me, I was given the option to work with inhouse CFD projects in various sectors.
The importance of continuously developing and reinventing
What are some important, must-have factors in a workplace for you?
— To be able to apply skills that I already have while at the same time getting new knowledge and developing further. Work-life balance is another thing I rate high. I think it’s necessary for me to have a balanced workload that allows me to have some time to invest in self-development. Another aspect in that regard is the Individual Education Budget, which I highly appreciate.
When talking development, there are many aspects that goes into the process of getting better and improving. For Eleni, a big factor is keeping herself updated with the latest challenges and experimenting with new tools.
— It’s important in order to deliver results in a more efficient way. Given the level of competition nowadays, it becomes very important to constantly reinvent yourself.
“I really cherish the diversity of the projectsI have worked on.”
What are the main challenges in your field?
— Depending on the area of application, most industries today experience the pressure of the environmental restrictions and are being challenged to adapt to new conditions. New fuels are being investigated in the aerospace industry. Electrification is the way forward for most of the automotive companies. In the area of aerodynamics, the industry is driven by the increase in performance which translates to fuel economy and reduced emissions. I think that there will be more projects coming from the energy sector. The climate crisis and the need to act will open new opportunities in the energy market.
Fluid mechanics can’t be the only thing that’s on your mind. What do you do when you’re not working?
— I spend most of my time with my family. I love cooking, reading books and practicing yoga.
Reading, huh! Any book recommendations?
— Thinking of Scandinavian authors, I do like Jo Nesbø’s books, have read all the Harry Hole series. I have always liked the way he describes the seedy side of Oslo.
Are you interested in seeing if we have any assignments in Aerodynamics and CFD available?